Magic Of Light geared for Aintree return
Jessica Harrington is preparing Magic Of Light for a second crack at the Randox Health Grand National in Aintree.
The mare finished second to Tiger Roll in the 2019 renewal and is being readied for another tilt at the Merseyside marathon on April 10th.
Fond memories of Aintree
Magic Of Light ran a stunning race to be second to the mighty Tiger Roll in 2019. Gordon Elliott’s star was, of course, becoming the first horse since Red Rum to win successive Grand Nationals.
Magic Of Light meanwhile was a relatively raw eight-year-old, winner of three from 14 previous starts over fences when she set off as a 66-1 chance under Paddy Kennedy that spring afternoon.
She had unseated Robbie Power when favourite to win the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse (3m1f, good) that same February but came to Aintree after a pleasing run in the Ultimate Handicap Chase (3m1f, soft) at the Cheltenham Festival.
With that lack of experience against her – she was yet to win beyond three miles – it was no shock that Magic Of Light went off a big price.
A blunder at The Chair second time around appeared to knock her back after having raced prominently, but she recovered equilibrium and led running to the final fence, before Tiger Roll and Davy Russell took over to win by two-and-three-quarter-lengths up the arduous Aintree run-in.
Improved performer last term
Magic Of Light progressed again last season, winning a Listed Chase at Newbury in December over just shy of three miles before also scoring in a Grade 2 Hurdles contest at Ascot in January. She had one more run at Navan in February before racing fell victim to the pandemic.
This term, she won the same Newbury contest before Christmas on her second start back and, last month, chased home the very impressive Roksana at Ascot. Dan Skelton’s mare is headed for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Harrington felt her charge lost little caste in finishing second to her.
“She’s very well, we were pleased with her,” said the Co Kildare based trainer.
“On ratings she had no right to beat that filly [Roksana] and she ran a very good race on ground that was probably a bit tacky for her. It probably was a stronger renewal, and the ground was very tacky.”
Aintree the aim again
Now aged ten and a maturing performer, Magic Of Light was among the initial 106 entries for the world’s greatest steeplechase when they were revealed recently.
Dual winner Tiger Roll features again but there aren’t many ahead of the Harrington mare in the ante-post betting for the great race.
Magic Of Light has become a beacon of consistency for the Harrington team, with five wins and a further seven placed efforts as a chaser, ensuring she has finished out of the money only five times in 17 starts as a chaser.
There may be one more outing for her before she goes back to Aintree in April, says her trainer.
“We’ve no idea where we’ll go next, none at all,” Harrington added. “But the Grand National is the aim, so we’ll just work our way towards that.
“She’s lovely, she’s very consistent. She is as she is, and she’s in great form this year.”
Find odds on Magic of Light amongst the rest of the Grand National 2021 field here.